Allison's Book Bag

Bad Kitty School Daze by Nick Bruel

Posted on: October 31, 2014

Bad Kitty School Daze is a hilarious graphic novel. Students will relate to the classroom setting, laugh at the antics of the outrageous characters, and maybe even learn a thing or two about cats and dogs from the informational Uncle Murray pages. Whether or not you have yet to discover Bad Kitty, this is an excellent title to check out.

One fine day, Bad Kitty and Puppy land themselves in trouble. Off to obedience school they are sent! This however isn’t like the school your local pet club might offer. Instead, just like human kids, Bad Kitty and Puppy ride a bus to school. They even wear backpacks. And they feel trepidation about the new teacher, who initially seems quite huge and frightening. All of these moments show how well Bruel understands the first day of school experience. Younger students especially will also relate to the obedience school routine, which doesn’t include learning to sit or stay or heel but instead involves going to Circle Time, Arts and Crafts, Show and Tell, and Story Time. One of the most poignant moments happens soon after the onset of school. As Miss Dee ushers everyone into their first class, she tells them that, “I believe you are all GOOD pets and I want you to know that.” Bad Kitty makes a face and Miss Dee adds, “Even you.” The look on Bad Kitty’s face is priceless.

After school activities get underway, personalities become clear. Bad Kitty continues to give attitude. Puppy in contrast displays the most sweetest face, while simultaneously drooling slobber. A militant rabbit insists on calling himself Dr. Lagomorph and interrupting every direction. An oversized bulldog rants about how much she HATES cats: their eyes, their noses, their goofy whiskers. She wants to punch them, bite their heads off, and chew their faces like gum. What saves the text from feeling overly violent is the creative variations Bruel makes of the typefaces. Oh, and it probably helps too that the bulldog’s name is Petunia. 🙂 One of the cutest scenes is where Petunia starts to scrutinize Bad Kitty, Bad Kitty makes the Moo sound of a cow, and Petunia hugs Bad Kitty as if she were a sister. Actually, pretty much every interaction between Petunia and Bad Kitty is hilarious and tender. Except for maybe the one where Petunia finally figures out Bad Kitty is a…. gulp…. cat!

Uncle Murry’s Fun Facts appear three times in the story. The first two-page spread explains why dogs chase cats. The second offers reasons for why dogs and cats don’t like each other. Pet owners, young and old, might find the information is fairly standard. It could also perhaps perpetuate stereotypes or the idea that dogs and cats will never be anything but eternal enemies. Uncle Murry saves himself with the third spread, which explores the question of whether dogs and cats can become friends. The answer is yes, they can, but only with patience. Uncle Murray then proceeds to provide step-by-step directions of how real pet owners might really create friendships between their dog and cat.

Bruel dedicated Bad Kitty School Daze to teachers. I wholeheartedly recommend the placement of the Bad Kitty books in every school library. And, as a teacher, I say thank you to Bruel for creating a series with such high appeal to reluctant readers, boy readers, and a host of other readers. Including me!

My rating? Read it: Borrow from your library or a friend. It’s worth your time.

How would you rate this book?

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Almost a year after I announced that it was time to take a step back from this blog, Allison's Book Bag is still here. I'm slowly working back up to weekly reviews again. Each week, there will be one under any of these categories: Advanced Reader Copies, animal books, religious books, or diversity books. Some will come in the form of single reviews and others in the form of round-ups. Just ahead, there will be reviews of:

  • Freddy the Frogcaster and the Terrible Tornado by Janice Dean
  • The Distance Between Us by Reya Grande
  • Hearts of Fire from The Voice of Matyrs

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